May 23, 2019
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Kim concludes trip to Vladivostok after summit with Putin

Vladivostok, Russia, Apr 26 (efe-epa).- The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, left the eastern city of Vladivostok on Friday, one day after his first ever summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The train carrying Kim left Vladivostok station at 3:30pm local time after an official farewell ceremony with the minister of development of the Russian Far East, Alexander Kozlov, Primorsky governor Oleg Kozhemiako and Russia's ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora.

Kim’s scheduled activities on Friday in Vladivostok initially appeared to have been canceled, although sources from the regional Primorsky government later said Kim's visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was back on.

The delegation accompanying Kim arrived at the memorial two hours later than originally scheduled, and while the reasons for the cancellation are not known, South Korean news agency Yonhap suggested it was due to inclement weather in the Russian port city, which later improved.

Kim was received at the memorial by Kozhemiako with an honor guard. The ceremony ended with more military honors before Kim's rail trip back to Pyongyang.

On Thursday, Kim and Putin met face-to-face for the first time in what was the first high-level meeting between leaders of the two nations since 2011, when Kim’s late father, Kim Jong-il, met with then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.

In addition to bilateral relations, Thursday’s meetings discussed the state of Pyongyang's nuclear disarmament, a process which has stalled since a summit in Hanoi between Kim and US president Donald Trump in February failed to yield an agreement.

Following Thursday’s summit, the North Korean leader said that the security situation on the Korean peninsula was dependent on the “attitude” shown by the United States, state media outlet KCNA reported.

Kim reportedly told Putin that “the US took a unilateral attitude in bad faith” at the failed Hanoi summit.

"The situation on the Korean peninsula and the region is now at a standstill and has reached a critical point where it may return to its original state," Kim said in the meeting, adding that his regime was prepared for any “possible situation”.

“Peace and security on the Korean peninsula will entirely depend on the US future attitude," he said, according to KCNA.

Unlike Kim, who did not make any public statement following Thursday’s summit, Putin addressed reporters at the end of his meetings with the leader of the so-called “hermit kingdom”.

"North Korea needs guarantees of its security and sovereignty," Putin said.

He called on concerned parties to first take steps that would boost confidence and trust, and to provide security guarantees to Pyongyang, which he said would support the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Putin also said the denuclearization process would need a "step by step" approach.

"If we act like we are, one step forward and two steps back, we will not achieve the desired result. The most important thing is to restore international law.

"Back to a situation when international law and not just the strongest countries in the world, defined the situation," Putin said.

North Korea has been demanding the complete lifting of sanctions that the UN has imposed on the Pyongyang regime in response to the nuclear and ballistic tests carried out since 2006 until a few months before the first summit with Trump in Singapore in Jun. 2018.

After agreeing to “work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula”, their second summit in Hanoi ended without a deal being signed.

Trump had said he chose to "walk away" from an agreement with Kim because the North Koreans "wanted sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that”.

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